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Persona 4 Arena Ultimax
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Persona 4 Ultimax is a fighting game where players can fight as or against several characters from the Persona video game franchise. The franchise is well-known for its fantastical and sometimes surreal graphical style, so although there's frequent fast-paced combat, it's tempered with stylized effects such as over-the-top attack animations and bright bursts of color. There's one stage where blood splatter appears to be on a wall in the background. Expect occasional depictions of female characters in skimpy swimsuits or towels, occasionally in provocative poses. One character is shown with a cigar in his mouth, though there's never any dialogue about smoking in general. Multiplayer is unmoderated, raising serious privacy and safety concerns.
What's it about?
PERSONA 4 ARENA ULTIMAX is a fighting game where players step into fast-paced battles. In a couple modes, players can watch an unfolding story between watching one-on-one fights. In the plot, the protagonists must work together to restore peace to the world after it's taken over by a mysterious force turning people into evil "shadow" versions of themselves. Players must either attack the shadow versions of their friends to restore them to normal or engage in combat against the "bad guys" responsible for the disaster in the first place.
Is it any good?
Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is a very competent and well-rounded fighting game. It incorporates all the aspects that allow players to pick up and play the game from scratch, while honing their skills over the long run. There are numerous combination attacks, unique to each of the more than 20 characters, for players to learn and master. There also are unique and interesting elements, such as the ability to "charge" their attacks for greater impact and special over-the-top "instant kill" moves that trigger exaggerated animations, ranging from successively slashing an opponent with colorful blades to sending them into outer space and then pummeling them back to Earth.
The two story modes also are well-done and add a compelling reason to play the game in solo mode against computer opponents. But though it does everything to make the game a strong and worthy fighting game, it adds nothing to differentiate it from any other fighting game on the market. Those who are fans of the Persona video game franchise will of course appreciate all the characters and environments, but on its own, it's little more than a competent and enjoyable fighting game.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way violence is incorporated into the story modes. What is the best way to solve problems when they can't be solved peacefully? Is violence sometimes the only answer if it's for the greater good?
Who is your favorite character, and why? Do you identify with that character in some way?
When have you had to overcome a seemingly larger-than-life obstacle? How did it feel when you eventually got through it?
For kids who love action
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.